The global car industry is showing no convincing signs of recovery yet as sluggishness in developed economies has deeply dented demand, a Hyundai Motor Group vice chairman said on Wednesday.

But auto markets in China, India and Brazil should outperform, helped by government incentives, growing incomes and faster economic recovery, said Lee Hyun-soon, who heads research and development at the group.

The world's No.5 automaker aims to increase its share of those markets with targeted launches, but has no plans to bring forward production schedules for more environmentally friendly cars.

It is difficult to say the global car market is showing signs of recovery as the U.S. and European markets remain weak, Lee told Reuters in an interview at Hyundai Motor's research and development center in Whasung, southeast of Seoul.

The group plans to launch unique models in China, add new models in India, and develop small cars which can run on ethanol in Brazil to expand market shares in those markets, Lee said.

The group, which owns South Korea's top two auto makers -- Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) -- does not plan to start mass production of eco-cars earlier than currently scheduled though it has the technology to do so, the vice chairman said.

A greater priority is improving the fuel efficiency of conventional cars, said Lee, who joined Hyundai Motor in 1984.

Our (environmental) technology is ready. But the problem is money and infrastructure. We have to see how the government would support it and if customers would pay big money, he said.

Hyundai plans to launch a plug-in hybrid model in the United States, but the company will see customers' reaction to General Motors Corp's (GM.N) Chevrolet Volt before launching its own version, Lee said.

Earlier this month, Hyundai unveiled the Elantra LPI, a hybrid version of its popular compact car, which will be powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and lithium polymer batteries.

Hyundai plans to start mass production of gasoline hybrid cars next year and of plug-in hybrids from late 2012.

The group also aims to improve fuel efficiency by 25 percent for gasoline models and 15 percent for diesel cars by 2015, he said.

It is spending 20-30 percent of its research and development budget on improving fuel economy, almost the same as its investment in environmentally friendly models, Lee said.

People have an illusion that hybrid (cars) can solve all the problems ... But hybrid models are less than 1 percent of global car (sales) and the proportion would grow to just 5 percent in the next 5 years, Lee said.

If we do not improve the fuel efficiency of conventional cars, we cannot solve those problems.

(Editing by John Stonestreet)